Romancing the Stone.

The other day I went to see that totally forgettable Total Recall remake and this was waiting for me out in the theater lobby afterward…

A historical “action drama” movie featuring cops and gangsters and Sean Penn and Josh Brolin and fucking Nick Nolte. Ugh. All pretty high on my list of least favorite things at the cinema, and yet… Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone? That’s chemistry goldmine right there. (As opposed to featuring Bryan Gosling, that loser.)

I’m not saying that the presence of those two together will get to go see this movie, but it will seriously make me wish that they were in a different movie together.

They were the best thing about Crazy Stupid Love, right?

Why can’t they do a movie where they fight vampires or something. Or a Shakespearean adaptation. Only… set in the future. But maybe it’s really the past? And taking place on a holodeck? And Mercutio is a robot! And a ghost. And a traitor! And it’s all really a dream. Of course.

Anyway. Anything other than gangsters next time, please?

It’s just sad because I want to say that Emma Stone clearly has more onscreen chemistry and just works better in a movie with Gosling than her actual boyfriend, offscreen and on (in Spider-Man), Andrew Garfield. But, you know, whatever.

Meanwhile… have you been checking out our podcast?

If not, you should be. Obviously. Check out the Time Travel Murder Mystery site, or find us in itunes. The last two episodes, “Bad Nudity Batman” and “The Jon Snow Show” were fun, I thought. And a new episode should be up in a few days.

A planet called America, part two.

This morning I walked into work and said something to one of my co-workers along the lines of, “So, is your life any better now that Osama is dead?” She looked at me said, “OMG, the President is dead?” And I said, “Huh? What? No. NO. Osama. Bin Laden!” And then she squinted, looked at me curiously, and said, “What the fuck are you talking about?” Just then another co-worker held up the front page of the newspaper which had a huge picture of the deceased terrorist mastermind on it and a massive headline that said “BIN LADEN DEAD.” Or maybe it said “BIN LADEN KILLED.” Honestly, I can’t remember anymore. But the headline was huge.

from here.

A week ago I said to a friend: “Dealing with your enemies is simple and easy. The best way to combat them is to simply make friends with them. Make friends with them so hard that it hurts.”

It’s so weird to me still that one of the time I felt most unified with this crazy, amazing, fucked up country was on 9/11. The wost metaphor I could use here would be: It’s like that girlfriend, the one who’s really fucking amazing, if a little weird, and way too good for you, and you just treat her like shit. She should really quit you and your bullshit. You just don’t appreciate her and for some reason she just won’t leave you. And you don’t realize how important she really is to you until someone else threatens here. Some clarity only comes to us on the precipice of great and terrible disaster. Life is funny like that.

Part of me is glad that Bin Laden wasn’t captured and forced to answer for his crimes to us and to the world in person, though I would have wanted that, of course. Part of me was glad to hear that this was finally over, that everyone who had been wounded by the tragedies that seemed to be dialed up at this man’s fingertips can now crawl just one more inch ever so slowly and painfully into the past. I wouldn’t really call this “justice “though because, well, there is no such thing as justice. Scales aren’t balanced because Bin Laden is dead. His life will never ever begin to be equal in worth to those lost on 9/11 or those who have put on an military uniform and defended a certain set of ideals and beliefs that we all take for granted every single minute. America is a brilliant, beautiful idea, but not a perfect one, and it can be hurt and it can be dented, but it’ll always be stronger than some cheap thug, no matter where he lives, no matter what he looks like, no matter what he worships. It can only be killed by those who give up on the idea, or who sell it out bit by bit in the name of “freedom.”

from here.

The death of what we consider to be an evil man on the other side of the world doesn’t bring back all those special people that we lost but hopefully it helps some people to breathe easier. Hopefully it reminds us why those people were special to us and hopefully we never forget what they meant to us. I’d like to say that hopefully it makes us appreciate each moment we have on this planet all that much more, but we should’ve been doing that long before now, and of course should continue doing that to the moment we draw our last breath. Hopefully someone like Bin Laden will never ever come close to challenging that idea every again.

I’ll admit to being conflicted or just confused about this news and how I should be feeling, but I’m lucky. Lucky to be here, lucky to be typing this in the land of the free, home of the brave. I’m lucky that I didn’t lose anyone ten years ago on that strange September day or in the fights and wars that followed. Who Osama Bin Laden is and what all of this means is something for you to decide. I can tell you that I don’t view this man’s death as closure, but honestly, I won’t look down on anyone who gets it from this news.

Thank you, mom. Thank you, God. Thank you, Barack Obama. Thank you, Donald Trump (with your stupid ass hair and head full of shit). Thank you, Pakistan. Thank you, India! Thank you, everyone who’s ever stood up for what they believed in and put that belief above themselves. Thank you, Bill Murray. Thank you, internet jokesters and “expert thinkers.” Thank you, Doctor Who. Thank you to the moon and to The Onion, both. Thank you, mainstream media. Thank you, “Mission Accomplished.” Thank you, those who agree with me, and thank you to those who would never agree with me in a million years. Thank you, Jack Donaghy, and thank you, Condoleezza Rice and thank you, Margaret Cho (for guest starring on 30 Rock). Thank you, strange new/old world that has such people in it. Thank you, post-Now. Thank you to everyone who thinks this matters and everyone who knows that it really doesn’t. Thank you to all those who never forget and especially thank you to those who are doomed to remember.

I saw this picture posted on the internet a little while ago…

…and I had a might good chuckle.

The terrorists are always winning. And the terrorists are always losing. And the battle will keep raging and hopefully we’ll never forget what we’re fighting for or who we should actually be fighting.

It’s doesn’t even matter that Superman’s no longer an American citizen or that The Rock had the #1 movie at the box office this weekend AND knew that Osama was dead before you did because…

Well, because the story’s not over and the dream is never ending.

And like PKD said, Maybe the Empire never ended?

Like fake MLK said, “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”

It’s been over 24 hours now and tonight when I go to bed I’ll be thinking the same thing I was thinking last night, “Okay, so Osama’s dead. And what will tomorrow look like?”

The Goddamn Batman.

from here.

From the internet:

RIP Leslie Nielsen.

RIP Irvin Kershner.

Your 2010 holiday gift shopping sorted.

Here’s something you clearly (don’t) need: pocket chainsaw.

The top 5 most shocking things about WikiLeaks.

Vladimir Putin is Batman and Dmitry Medvedev is Robin.”

Celebrities quitting twitter for charity.

from here.

This Spider-Man musical sounds like just the kind of crazy train wreck that you want it to be.

Here’s what Christopher Nolan thinks of your Inception fan theories.

Natalie Portman, Halle Berry, and Tom Hanks to star in the Wachowskis’ version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas?

Actor decapitates own mother in Masonic attack inspired by The Matrix.

The bad sex in fiction awards!

Fox Nation reprints anti-Obama article from The Onion, doesn’t mention (or possibly realize) that it’s a joke.

Music by David Lynch.

Previously on Counterforce.

An interview with Jorge Luis Borges.

from here.

This is just weird: Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal.

From 1993: The future of the internet!

David Foster, from 1998: “I’m not a journalist and I don’t pretend to be one.”

from here.

Klaxons “Twin Flames.”

The little white lies of online dating revealed.

Is this the year that we make contact? Maybe.

Doctor Doom vs. Doctor Who.

Are we about to be inundated with a wave of movie versions of the works of Haruki Murakami?

Batman and Robin investigate “The Carbon Copy Crimes.”

from here.

D. J. Caruso on why he quit the Y The Last Man movie. Wants to make it a TV show instead, huh? Someone owes me a check. You fuckers.

Suck on this: Animated Southland Tales prequel.

How does Commissioner Gordon really feel about Batman?

Do women avoid talking to their fathers because of evolution?

Edgar Allan Bro.

Hercule Poirot kitties. LOL.

from here.

Shocking link between people who like Batman and people who like pornography.

How to survive a mass extinction.

A Spanish woman claims that she owns the Sun and you can bet your ass she wants you to pay her for its usage.

from here.

I’m just a bill.

from Wonder Tonic, a really great site.

Ha ha, no, but seriously.

from here.

“Historic and controversial,” they called it, and they can call it whatever they want because thankfully today, President Obama signed the health care/health insurance reform bill into law. Let’s hope it’s the first of many steps.

And not just baby steps.

You know Uncle Joe liked it, in his usual classy sorta way.

Nutritional menu labeling to go national, thanks to the bill. Nice. Here’s a fact sheet.

from here, fuck yeah!

Metal is murder.

Kill-o-bot on the rampage.from here.

Just a quick note: Dreamworks has picked up the film rights to an  unpublished manuscript entitled Robopocalypse which “explores the fate of the human race following a robot uprising,” seemingly in the same vein as Max Brook’s World War Z, which is also being made into a movie itself. The author of the unpublished novel, which is scheduled for a 2011 release, has an interesting pedigree, including a Ph.D in robotics and has written several articles for Popular Mechanics and the novel is supposedly grounded in realism.

Old people! Beware the robots! They will strangle you to death and steal your pills!from here.

A shame. I feel like Benjamin Light has been slowly groping towards a warning to us fleshy humans about the robots evil plan for world domination and… well, I guess we just didn’t listen. Or get a book/movie deal out of it.

Run puny human! Run for your inconsequential lives!

We can put a man on the moon but we can’t bomb a tiny asian nation into the stone age?

This is just one of the many, many, man reasons why I love The Onion.

You can see it bigger here (that’s what she said!).

Also, I highly encourage you to go check out Alex Carnevale’s piece on Apollo 11 and the moon walk at This Recording. Not just one of his favorite things by him or that has appeared on the site, but one of my favorite things that I’ve ever read online.

The Airborne Toxic Event.

So I’ve told you that my favorite author is Amy Hempel, right? Let me share with you what is possibly my second favorite author (though it’s a tight knit cluster towards the top of great literature, the post modernist), Don Delillo.

I’ll make this simple and easy

Name: Don Delillo.

Born: November 20, 1936 in New York.

Died: Thankfully not yet. He’s 72.

Best known novel: Either White Noise or Underworld.

Last published novel: Falling Man, about a survivor of 9/11. The title, of course, is based on this classic image:

Which is entitled “The Falling Man” and was taken by Richard Drew at 9:41 AM on September 11, 2001.

Next novel: Omega Point is the title, which is… so very intriguing. It’ll be his 15th novel. It’s scheduled for release in February, 2010, which is too far away.

Plot description: “A young filmmaker visits the desert home of a secret war adviser in the hopes of making a documentary. The situation is complicated by the arrival of the older man’s daughter, and the narrative takes a dark turn.”

from here.

Things that primarily inspire him:Abstract expressionism, foreign films, and jazz.” Also, the things we do to history. And the things that history does to us in return.

Themes he likes/keeps returning to in his work: rampant consumerism, novelty intellectualism, underground conspiracies, the disintegration and re-integration of the family, and the promise of rebirth through violence (from wikipedia, but wikipedia is right). Also, mass media pollution, the collision and interchangeability of words and images, and the draining of meaning and context from an event as our lives are filled up with more and more simulacra.

Writers who cite him as a major influence: Bret Easton Ellis, Jonathan Franzen, and David Foster Wallace.

His place in the world: Harold Bloom has named him as one of the four major novelists of his time, the other three being Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, and Phillip Roth.

His humble beginnings: The world of advertising. He wrote image ads for Sears Roebuck amongst others but eventually quit to start his writing career, including his first novel.

About the start of his writing career, he said: “I did some short stories at that time, but very infrequently. I quit my job just to quit. I didn’t quit my job to write fiction. I just didn’t want to work anymore.”

Forays into film: Only one screenplay so far, for a film entitled Game 6, about the 1986 World Series. The script was written in the 90s, but the film (I don’t know when it was actually produced) came out in 2006, and stars Michael Keaton (who would later go on to do a shitty looking thriller entitled White Noise that has nothing to do with the Delillo book), Griffin Dunne, and Robert Downey, jr. and has a score by Yo La Tengo. The story is classic Delillo.

Theatre: He’s written four plays, two of which, The Day Room and Valparaiso, I’m happy to say I own and have read. The other two, Love-Lies-Bleeding and The Word For Snow, I have not yet.

Just a few of his awards: The National Book Award (for White Noise) and the Jerusalem Prize, which is given to writers who deal with the themes of human freedom, society, politics, and government. And he also won the 2009 Common Wealth Award for Literature.

from here.

The first line of Underworld: “He speaks in your voice, American, and there’s a shine in his eye that’s halfway hopeful.” The opening prologue of the book was also released as it’s own novella, with the separate title, Pafko At The Wall.

Some real talk from White Noise: “All plots move deathwards.”

Musical name checks: Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes, Rhett Miller, Luna, and a band called Too Much Joy. Also, the band called The Airborne Toxic Event got their band name from White Noise.

The first line of Great Jones Street: “Fame requires every kind of excess.”

Don Delillo, as depicted by Brian Wood. From here.

One of my favorite quotes from his books #1: “I don’t want your candor. I want your soul in a silver thimble.”

Fictionalized version of him: blogs for The Onion covering last year’s election.

His three favorite things: “Silence, exile, and cunning. And so on.” Also, paraphrasing James Joyce.

The criticism: There’s been a lot. While there can be no argument that Delillo is a smarter author than a large majority out there, many would say that his books tend towards being over stylized and perhaps a bit intellectually shallow. I think that argument is fair in certain cases.

More criticism: George Will described Delillo’s Libra, which is a study of Lee Harvey Oswald, as “sandbox existentialism,” and then added that the book is an act of “literary vandalism and bad citizenship.”

Delillo’s response to Will: “I don’t take it seriously, but being called a ‘bad citizen’ is a compliment to a novelist, at least to my mind. That’s exactly what we ought to do. We ought to be bad citizens. We ought to, in the sense that we’re writing against what power represents, and often what government represents, and what the corporation dictates, and what consumer consciousness has come to mean. In that sense, if we’re bad citizen, we’re doing our job.”

One of my favorite quotes from his books #2: “History is the sum total of the things they aren’t telling us.” So true.

One of my favorite passages from his books: “I went out on the terrace. Automobiles were moving across Central Park, ticking red taillights trailing each other  north and west and toward the darkness and the river, headlights coming this way, soft orange, the whistling doormen. The park’s lamplights were dull cold steady silver. I was wasting my life.” From Americana, his first novel.

What he’s said about his first novel: “It’s no accident that my first novel was called Americana. This was a private declaration of independence, a statement of my intention to use the whole picture, the whole culture. America was and is the immigrant’s dream, and as the son of two immigrants I was attracted by the sense of possibility that had drawn my grandparents and parents.”

The above quote was from an interview that was referenced on a great site about the author: Don Delillo’s America. It’s a really good resource about the author.

Where’s a good place to start with Delillo: White Noise. Start there and enjoy it. Read about the book here and here and here.

One last thing, how is “Delillo pronounced?” Like this: Duh Lih Lo.

One last great quote from Don Delillo: “Years ago I use to think it was possible for  novelist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory. They make raids on humn consciousness. What writers used to do before we were all incorporated.”

Chinese Democracy vs. Chinese democracy.

Chinese FUCKING Democracy!

Is this real? Is this a thing that could actually be? Could this seriously be coming out in five days? Or are they just using my illusion against me?

But no, nooooo, this may actually be real. This time next week, I could actually be holding the damn near mythical, fabled and long awaited album by Axl Rose (Yes, it’s Guns N’ Roses, but I mean, really, that’s just been Axl for decades now). There’s even a Chuck Klosterman review out there to prove it. Fuck, there’s even tribute albums out there to it. We may actually be that Dr. Pepper after all.

The wikipedia article for this album is fascinating and quite possibly the longest I’ve ever seen for an album that has’t come out yet. There’s even a fascinating offshoot article about just the timeline of the album’s production, or lack of production, that is very detailed (though lacking details such as the fact that when Axl compiled one of his line ups for the new GNR, the one with Buckethead, that he took the time to have them re-record Appetite For Destruction so they’d know what it feels like to record a great Guns N’ Roses album) and interesting. Hell, someone even went to the trouble of compiling the history of all the leaks of the album over the years.

A short list of the people who’ve worked on the album over the years includes: Axl Rose, Buckethead, Bumblefoot, Andy Wallace, Bob Ezrin, Josh Freese, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Sebastian Bach (who says that Chinese Democracy is merely the first of a trilogy of albums, with the third destined to drop in 2012, just in time for the end of the world), Marco Beltrami, Paul Buckmaster, Robin Finck, Richard Fortus, and Roy Thomas Baker. Oh, and Shaq, who apparently rapped on a track, which may or may not have survived to the actual album itself. And Moby and Youth apparently turned down an offer to do some production at one point.

Do you remember when “Oh My God” came out way back when on the End Of Days soundtrack and everyone was like, “Whoa, Chinese Democracy is going to sound like some kind of weird Nine Inch Nails thing?” Well, that may not be exactly how you worded it, but you were probably thinking it. I’m amazed that Trent Reznor wasn’t offered work on this behemoth.

Originally I was going to do this post on Chinese Democracy the album versus democracy in China and which we’d actually see first…

…Because I fully assumed that this whole exclusive Best Buy deal would have fallen apart by now. But somehow it hasn’t. Somehow, as far as I know, this album is still coming out this coming Sunday. And because we’ll probably never see democracy in China. I mean… Come on. It’s fucking China.

But instead, we’re facing an even bigger versus issue. The crazy, long built up and heavily anticipated ideal of Chinese Democracy, an epic Homeric poem set to music in our wildest fantasies versus the actual thing. The album that you can buy at Best Buy and unwrap and take home and listen to and wonder WTF is this shit? It took fifteen years to put this out?

It’s like the ending to Lost, which will have to be epic, but will we like it. Look at the endings to Seinfeld and The Sopranos, hated by all except the hardcore fans (personally, I’d call the ending to Seinfeld beyond brilliant and couldn’t give two shits about The Sopranos in the first place). It’s like the ending to The Shield next week, which will have to be huge. It’s probably why Salinger never stopped writing after Catcher In The Rye, he just stopped releasing books. Even for a perfectionist who’s name is an anagram for oral sex, the hype will kill your ass.

Well, good, bad, or whatever, I’ll get the fucking thing this weekend. Rain or shine, in fact. Actually, no, I hope it rains. I can’t think of anything better than picking this monster up in the cold November rain.